How to sell books online?

how to sell books online

Written by Muskan Behune

The name is Muskan, so probably was destined to spread smiles wherever I go. Writing is something which has grown on me with each passing day. Follow your passion in saying is a cliché but in doing is serious fun. So here I am to engage with my passion and maybe spread some smiles along the way.

Last updated Jan 20, 2022

You’ve finally accepted you’re never going to read Elantris again, and your college biology textbook is no more than dead weight. It’s time to clear off your bookshelves but don’t give those unwanted titles to Goodwill just yet. You might be able to make good money as you declutter. But the question is how to sell books online?

If you’re looking to empty the shelf, thin a book collection, or make some easy money, there are infinite options for online selling. In this blog, you’ll come across some best bets and will get to know how to sell books online.

Know your ISBN Number

To sell your books at many of the websites or locations it is suggested to know your book’s ISBN number. The ISBN number is a 10 to 13 digit number usually displayed above or below the bar code that is on the back of the book most of the time. Sometimes you have to hunt for it a bit more, such as inside the front cover or even a couple pages in, but typically not.

Typing in one of these codes isn’t much of a trouble, but if you’ve got lots of books to sell it may become so. If you’ve got a lot of books to sell it is suggested to use places which have an app that is designed to scan the book’s bar codes. This will help you when you’ve got lots of books, just to save time and sanity, at least when possible.

Start with scouting sites

Scouting sites are an excellent tool if you want to find the best buyback price quotes across several sites with one click. BookScouter and BookFinder are two good ones to start. These websites show what different companies will offer you for a given book. But be advised these rates are constantly changing with the market. It would be wise to make your book-selling project a one-day mission. 

Bookscouter.com

Bookscouter is a website that helps you streamline the process of finding the best price for your book and give knowledge about how to sell books online.

In fact, when you type in the ISBN of your book it compares prices from over 35 book-buying websites making it easy for you to find the site which is paying the most for your books. This price comparison will save you a lot of time.

Besides, they have an app for your iPhone or Android that allows you to use a barcode app with their program and look up books without even having to type in the full ISBN.

If you are short on time and don’t want to have to compare prices yourself, Bookscouter is a good one to try first to know how to sell books online.

When you start, Take a book, plug in the ISBN to a couple of scouting sites, and label the book with the best prices on a sticky note before you make your final counts. These scouting sites might direct you to sell your books with dealers, such as ValoreBooks, TextbookRush, and Chegg. Most of these sites are hit or miss depending on the book. Also, scouting sites can be unreliable sometimes, so check the actual buyer sites to confirm their rates.

Many book-buyback services require a minimum dollar amount or number of books to process your shipment. Always review the condition guidelines and other rules before shipping your books. Scouting sites will point you to dozens of different book buyers. The following are the most popular:

how to sell books online

Amazon

The Amazon Marketplace is mysterious and ever-changing and you might not be able to sell all the books on your shelf. As certain textbooks and popular novels seem to be in higher demand and some are not in demand.

However, the books you can sell could add up to a decent amount of Amazon credit, which nearly anyone could find a use for. Before you know how to sell books online make sure that your books should be in good condition, with no water damage, marked pages, or damaged spines or covers. But unlike some websites, if Amazon rejects your book it will mail it back to you for free. Plus, there’s no minimum order, so it’s a good option if you have just a few best books to sell.

AbeBooks

You can set up a professional seller account on AbeBooks. But if you only have a few titles to unload, using its book-buyback service might be more convenient. The site, owned by Amazon claims to have the largest online buyback catalog. It says it can usually beat your local college bookstore on price. But you’ll need to have at least $15 worth of books to sell, and they must be in good condition. If your old textbooks don’t meet AbeBooks’ standards, they’ll be recycled, and you won’t get a penny.

Powell’s Books

Powell’s, a five-store chain in Portland, Oregon, claims to be the world’s largest independent bookstore. It stocks over 2 million volumes and will buy your used ones to keep its shelves full.

While you’re getting to know how to sell books online, Be warned that Powell’s buyers are very particular about the condition, according to its website. Don’t try to send them former library books, advance reader copies, books with tears, broken bindings, or highlighting. or hardcovers without a dust jacket. Powell’s website has a visual guide to difficulties that will cause it to reject a title. Rejected titles are donated or recycled.

If Powell’s buyers do accept your book, you’ll get a better price if you take store credit instead of PayPal.

Half.com

Half.com is a company owned by eBay but where eBay specializes in auctions, half.com lists books to sell for a set price. They will sell both general books as well as textbooks.

You will need to create a seller’s account to start listing books by ISBN. Full disclosure of the condition of the book is important to keep your seller ratings high which promotes more people to buy from you.

When you sell a book, half.com will take a percentage of the final payment for their fees. The payments you receive from sales of your books go into a PayPal account.

Textbooks.com

Don’t let the name mislead you. Textbooks.com buys more than textbooks, so don’t discount it if you have paperbacks to sell. The site also sells used books directly to students and offers a guaranteed cash back option on some titles.

If you buy the book and sell it back at the end of the semester, you’ll get back half of what you paid, provided it’s still in good condition. Unlike some other sites, your books don’t need to be pristine, some writing and highlighting or creased pages sometimes work. Water damage, broken spines, and other circumstances will still get your book rejected.

how to sell books online

Shopify

Shopify is one of the more popular platforms for online selling these days. If you’re not interested in selling pre owned books on eBay or Amazon and are looking for answers to  how to sell books online, then Shopify will give you the freedom to build your literary brand from scratch.

The great thing about Shopify is that it’s the leading eCommerce platform for not just physical sales, but digital selling too. You could sell physical books, eBooks, downloads, and so much more.

Selling books on Shopify is just like starting an eCommerce business with this online store builder. Shopify is a popular tool for bookselling because it comes with an easy-to-use interface, plenty of community support, and a low setup fee. 

The good news is that whether you’re selling old books, looking to sell used books or retailing digital downloads, Shopify comes with excellent ease of use. It’s one of the easiest platforms to use for adding products, processing orders, and more.

Tips for First-Time Book Sellers

If you want to receive the full amount that a re-seller will offer you, these are a few things you need to do:

  • Be honest about the condition of the book

If there are damaged corners or missing pages or if someone has written in or highlighted huge portions of the book, make that known. If the book has remainder marks or an indication they’ve been returned to the publisher, mention that too. Fudging on the condition won’t get you more money. When the buyer receives your book and finds it lacking, he or she will adjust the offer down and may even reject your book completely.

  • Pack your books carefully

If a book was in excellent condition when you shipped it, but it arrived in fair condition, you’re going to be paid the fair book rate. You’re responsible for getting the book there in one piece, so take the time to wrap it well.

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